Western Europe is the region of Europe that includes many countries, a few of which are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom (Pennsylvania State University, 2017). A recent issue that has risen to the forefront within western Europe is the issue of overtourism and how these counties and the entire region has managed this issue.
An article from CNBC explains that overtourism is “a phenomenon that is disrupting communities, imperiling cherished buildings and harming the experience of travelers and local residents alike” (Pylas, 2017). With so many people visiting specific locations within western Europe at the same time, problems have become obvious and inevitable. Overtourism has become increasingly worrisome within the region of western Europe. It has led to Venice diverting massive cruise liners from porting there, and Barcelona to more closely monitor apartment rentals. The problem of overtourism has even led to slogans showing up such as “tourists go home” and “tourists are terrorists” (Pylas, 2017).
Taleb Rifai, the secretary general of the United Nations’ World Tourism Organization stated that the recent slogans are a wakeup call (Pylas, 2017). The question now, however, is how to manage the problem of overtourism. Tourism cannot be viewed as an overall negative aspect in western Europe because of the benefits it brings to the economy. An article from Eurostat (2017), states, “In 2014, one in ten enterprises in the European non-financial business economy belonged to the tourism industries. These 2.3 million enterprises employed an estimated 12.3 million persons.” By comparing the many benefits that tourism brings to western Europe’s economy with the problems arising due to overtourism, the question now is how to properly manage the tourism in the region.
Taleb Rifai explains that “what is required…is the need to manage tourism in a ‘sustainable and responsible’ way that benefits local communities” (Pylas, 2017). While this does seem like the best solution available, the question remains of how exactly this can be achieved for western European tourist destinations. There are many destinations, and the solution will not look the same for the different cities and various tourist locations. I think that it will be important for western Europe to have some sort of overarching policies in place to address the problems associated with overtourism, but that ultimately the solutions will be best achieved by working on more local levels. For instance, the frequent tourist destinations in Italy will have to employ different solutions than the frequent tourist locations in Spain for the problem of overtourism to be managed the most efficiently.
Pennsylvania State University. (2017). OLEAD 410: “Lesson 12: Western Europe.” Retrieved from: https://psu.instructure.com/courses/1867265/modules/items/22824786
Pylas, P., & Press, A. (2017, November 15). Managing overtourism an increasing feature of global travel. Retrieved November 15, 2017, from https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/15/the-associated-press-managing-overtourism-an-increasing-feature-of-global-travel.html
Tourism statistics. (2017, April). Retrieved November 15, 2017, from http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Tourism_statistics